• Abolitionist Poet, Friend of Lincoln Sends Note On Lincoln Poem After Assassination

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    WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT (1794-1878) was a noted American poet and newspaperman. At 17, he wrote the poem Thanatopsis that gave him instant recognition as a poet of merit. In 1825, he was appointed assistant editor of the New York Evening Post. By 1829, he was Editor-in-Chief and in 1849 he became joint owner of the Post with John Bigelow.  He adopted a strong antislavery posture and, although he was a supporter of President Lincoln, he was very critical of some of his appointments.

     

    On February 27, 1859, Lincoln gave his famous Cooper Union speech in New York.  Bryant introduced him.  After recounting Lincoln’s political successes in Illinois, he said, “I have only, my friends, to pronounce the name of Abraham Lincoln…to secure your profoundest attention.”  After Lincoln was nominated for President, Bryant took an active role to influence him. The two corresponded on several occasions after Lincoln was elected. 

     

    After Lincoln’s death, Bryant wrote a four-stanza memorial poem, “The Death of Lincoln.”

     

    Offering a 3 ¼ x 5 ¼ Autograph Note Signed by Bryant regarding his poem, n.p., n.d., addressed to Maria Ellery McKaye, a friend and contemporary poet, “I have copied the lines on Abraham Lincoln entire for your friend Miss Teegarden. Yours very truly, W.C. Bryant. Mrs. Maria E. McKaye”

     

    Provenance: Christie’s, New York, Dec. 5, 2017. The Norman Boas estate.

     

    Light toning. One small hole in the upper right margin, affecting nothing.

     

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